Seize the moment mean in simple words to live in a present, not think about your future or a past. Not only does planning help you develop the necessary skills and leadership, it also increases your chances of getting promotion, as people already recognize you as a leader. This key is to take on opportunities now, regardless of your tenure or role.
A few days ago, I had a chance meeting with one of my school friends, Smitha Sharma. Much elated to see each other, giggling like school girls we rushed to the nearest CCD. Meeting after 10 years, we had a lot of catching up to do. During the course of our conversation, Smitha told me that after her seven years of stint with one of the leading firms she was elevated to the post of managing director. She had reached this executive position by continuously challenging status quo- and by making the most of each of her previous roles. “I’ve never been concerned with my title. When I thought an assignment was a stretch, I took it,” she explained.
“When I applied for my previous position, the job carried the title ‘project manager’. But after my first conversation with the manager, I knew it was a position that would require a complex leadership skills and challenge me, so I accepted the job.”
That set me thinking, what set Smitha apart from others? I realized that in each role, Smitha embraced additional responsibilities without being asked. “ I make an effort to volunteer and raise my hand where I see a need.
I started talking on the responsibility of managing director with the hope that if I performed well, the title would come.” And her bosses have always respected this approach. “I rarely walk into my manager’s office and say I want to talk about my career or my next promotion. I walk in and say here’s a problem and here is how we might address it,” She said.
So instead of cribbing for the fancy title in your next appraisal or waiting for the corner office, you can begin to act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion. Even if you’re still several levels down and someone else is calling all the shots, there are numerous ways to demonstrate your potential and pave the way to the role secretly desire.
It’s never foolish to begin preparing for a transition for a transition no matter how many years away it is or where you are in your career. Not only does the planning help you develop the necessary skills and leadership presence, it also increases your chances of getting the promotion because people will already recognize you as a leader.
The key is to take on opportunities now is to seize the moment, regardless of your tenure or role. Here are several ways to start laying the ground work.
No matter how big your ambitions don’t let them distract you from excelling in your current role. Focus on the present as much as – or more than – the future. You still have to deliver results in your day job. You always need to take care of today’s business so that nobody- peers, direct reports, or those above you- questions your performance. That’s the first step to getting ahead.
Gravitate Towards ‘YES’
You have to execute on your boss’ priorities too. Show him that you’re willing to pick up the baton on important projects “lean more towards yes than no “ whenever your boss asks you to help with something new. Find out what gives your manager sleepless nights and propose solutions to those problems.
Make sure your “let me take that on” attitude extends beyond your relationship with your boss. Raise your hand for new initiatives, especially ones that might be visible to those outside your unit.
This will give others a taste of what you’ll be like in a more senior role.
It doesn’t have to be an intense, months long project. It might be something as simple as facilitating a meeting, offering to help with recruiting events, or stepping in to negotiate a conflict between peers. You might find opportunities outside of work, too.
You can sit on the board of a local nonprofit or organize your community’s volunteer day. These activities send the signal that you aspire to leadership potential.
LOOK FOR THE WHITE SPACE
Another way to prove your potential is to take on projects in the white space.
These are problems that others aren’t willing to tackle or don’t even know exist. Every organization has needs that nobody is paying attention to, or people are actively ignoring. For example, you might be able to identify a customer need that isn’t being met by your company’s current product line, and propose a new one.
Or you could do a quick analysis of how much a specific change would save the company. When you take on a task that no one else is willing to do, you make yourself stand out.
Seize the Moment Every time and live life smoothly…
BE AMBITIOUS BUT DO NOT SOUND AMBITIOUS
There’s a fine line between being ambitious and acting like you’re too big for your britches. It’s appropriate to raise your ambitions with your manager if you have a trusting, solid relationship, but frame them in a way that focuses on what’s best for the company. Lay out your accomplishments for the past year and then ask something like, “As we look further out, where do you see me continuing to make a contribution?” However, if you have the kind of boss who may feel threatened by your aspirations, it’s better to keep your ambitions quiet and prove your potential.
FOLLOW FOOTSTEPS OF NEXT STEP
Look for the people who have the roles you want and study what they do – how they act, communicate, and dress. Pick someone at the next level, someone similar to you, and find a way to work with them. Volunteer for a committee they’re spearheading or offer to help with one of their pet projects and seize the moment. Identify behaviors that you can emulate while being true to yourself. Don’t fake it. Seize the moment to live a perfect life. Try to study people who are stuck in their careers as examples of what not to do, are they clumsy? Do they disrespect the lines of authority? Do they fail to seamlessly integrate departments?
Cliched, it may sound, but it is true. “It is not who you know. It’s who knows you.” When you’re evaluated for the promotion, it’s unlikely your boss will sit in a room alone and contemplate your potential.
He’ll rely on others to assess your ability, which means you need supporters across the organization- people who are aware of the work you’re doing. If you find yourself walking down the hall with the most senior person at your company, be prepared to answer the question, ‘So what are you up to? Don’t take lightly any interactions that may seem informal. Treat every situation as an opportunity to demonstrate the value you bring to the organisation and your knowledge of the business.
So do not wait for till your next appraisal, seize the moment, before it melts away like a snowflake….
Step up the way and the title and the appraisal will follow you now.